BMW to Build Less Funky-Looking Electric Cars Once Tech Goes Mainstream: Report

Don’t like BMW’s current range of electrified cars? Fear not, they will be more conservative in the future.

byJames Gilboy|
BMW News photo

Electric BMWs of the future reportedly won't stand out as much as today's models do, even if future concepts like the Vision iNext lead us to believe otherwise.

The automaker's design director Adrian van Hooydonk stated in an interview with Autocar that BMW's early electrified models needed to be distinguishable from its other offerings to draw attention to the electric powertrain tech, but that as electric vehicles become more mainstream, styling of BMW's "i" models will converge with the rest of BMW's lineup again.

BMW Vision iNext Concept


"Electric mobility will spread through our entire vehicle range in quite a short space of time—to the point that electric or plug-in hybrid is just another option box you tick as you order the car," van Hooydonk told Autocar. "The fact is that BMW customers want a dynamic car, whether it is a battery-electric vehicle or not, and so there's increasingly less reason [sic] to make these kinds of cars look different."

BMW's i3 and i8 feature blue highlights or flourishes as part of their altered design language. More recent electric vehicle concepts such as the Vision iNext (pictured above) play with established BMW styling even more, conjoining the automaker's signature kidney grilles. It's not yet known whether this detail will stay with the production iNext, but van Hooydonk said that more conservative styling doesn't mean weird BMWs won't exist in the future.

BMW iX3 Concept


"The i brand stands for inspiration and innovation, and electrification is not the only area of our industry that marks a significant change. It's pretty clear that there will still be i cars, and that the designers will be able to search for different things," he concluded.

One vehicle that could bridge the gap between exotic concept cars and BMW's current lineup could be the iX3 electric crossover, whose design is decidedly X3 with relatively mild concept qualities. As the iX3 isn't expected to arrive until 2020, the i3 will remain BMW's most mainstream EV option, though it is not yet known whether the i3 will find a permanent place in BMW's lineup.